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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

30 Read Alouds to Integrate Science, Social Studies, and Literacy Skills

After an exhausting weekend of being chauffeur, family photographer, and social event coordinator for my own kids, I stood in the middle of the children’s section at a major bookseller hoping to find a quick and easy solution for the modeled reading section of my pollution lesson for Monday.   I needed a book that introduced pollution. With this curriculum crunch we’re in, it needed to be down and dirty with the easy details, too…or so I thought as I stood half-heartedly staring at the search menu on the store’s computer. My search for pollution books turned up two (seriously only two at this major retailer): The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore) and The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge.  Since I wasn’t eager to cover the global warming debate, it left one lazy option: The Berenstain Bears.

Fortunately, for my students’ sake, I texted my colleague, Meagan, and ran that clunker of an idea by her.  I could justify it.  Every kid should experience the Berenstain Bears, and the book would quickly teach the problem and solutions of pollution.  But Meagan texted back, “Use the Chris Van Allsburg book…the one where he’s in the bed seeing the way the earth is changing. No bears, please!”  She was referring to Just a Dream, Allsburg’s book about a young boy that dreams of a future negatively impacted by pollution.  I happily picked the book up from her classroom before school started the next day.  That was a quick and easy no-brainer.

*Every teacher needs a Meagan in your life to shake you back to your senses and hold you to high standards!

Matching our science and social studies content to a modeled read aloud every single day for every single lesson is challenging. But the literacy rewards are off the charts when we take the time to make it happen.  I ended up using Just a Dream for our modeled reading on Monday.  I focused on the literacy reading standard CCGPSRL.3 on character traits.  We charted the change in perspective of Walter, the main character, throughout the story.  I pulled in our word study on shades of meaning, and the word choice on our chart was outstanding…unreliable, cantankerous, sketchy, shady, changing to dependable, trustworthy, and compassionate.  Yep!  Third graders used those words on their own.  We followed it up with a shared reading on the types of pollution.  Students then completed a partner task sorting the events in Just a Dream into the four categories of pollution.  It was way better than a trip down memory lane with Brother and Sister Bear.

We all need support finding modeled reading selections that promote critical thinking skills and integrate science and social studies content.  Below, you’ll find 30 fantastic science and social studies themed books that I’ve used in my classrooms during Modeled Reading:

Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
Character Traits/ Change in Perspective
Flute’s Journey by Lynn Cherry
Text Structure: Sequence/Temporal Words
About Raptors: A Guide for Children By Cathryn Sill
Animal Traits
Text Structure Organization: Description
Teeth By Sneed B Collard
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast
Aliens from Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems
 By Mary Batten
How plants and animals affect ecosystems/ Interdependence
Text Structure Organization: Cause and Effect
When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone
By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Human Impact on Ecosystems / Interdependence
Text Structure Organization: Problem and Solution
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry
Human Impact on Ecosystems / Interdependence
Main Idea and Details / Inference / Plot & Conflict: Somebody, Wanted, But, So / Figurative Language
A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynn Cherry
Natural Resources /Pollution/Consumers & Producers
Text Structure: Cause & Effect Relationships / Using Illustrations & Maps to aid Comprehension
Who Is  Jane Goodall? by Roberta Edwards
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy Standards / Biography
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Human Impact on Ecosystems
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / Fact & Opinion / Theme / Figurative Language

Fossils/Rocks and Soils
National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia
Text Features
Dinosaur Named Sue: The World's Most Complete T. Rex
 By Relf, Pat
Text Features
Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
Rocks and Minerals
Monitoring Comprehension-  think marks, fix-up strategies, jotting thinking in the margin or on post-its, connections
Dirt: The Scoop on Soil by Natalie Rosinky
Monitoring Comprehension-  think marks, fix-up strategies, jotting thinking in the margin or on post-its, connections

The Lemonade War By Jacqueline Davies
Economic Concepts – excellent for teaching economic vocabulary
Monitoring our comprehension through questioning/Main Idea/ Inferencing/Context Clues
Pancakes, Pancakes!ir?t=choiceliterac-20&l=ur2&o=1 By Eric Carle
Resources / Production

Colonial America/Democracy/American Revolution
Blood on the River By Elisa Carbone  (4th grade +)
Colonial America
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / figurative language/ theme/ character traits and change
Homespun Sarah
By Verla Kay 
Colonial America
Poetry – rhythm & rhyme / Illustrations support comprehension
Tattered Sails
By Verla Kay
Colonial America
Poetry – rhythm & rhyme / Illustrations support comprehension
You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Colonist!: A Settlement You'd Rather Not Start 
by David Salariya

Colonial America
If You Lived In Colonial Times 
by Ann McGovern

Colonial America
Katie's Trunk by Ann Turner
Revolutionary War
1st person POV, text dependent questioning, figurative language, shades of meaning of words
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer (4th Grade+)
Revolutionary War
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast / 1st Hand Accounts / Quotes /

Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborn (2nd and early 3rd Grade)

Revolutionary War
Narrative Elements
Redcoats and Petticoats by K. Kirkpatrick and R. Himmler
Revolutionary War
Text Structure: Compare & Contrast / Reading for Detail & Evidence
Buttons for General Washington by Peter Roop
Revolutionary War
Content Vocabulary, Context Clues, Inference
And then What Happened Paul Revere? by Jeanne Fritz
Revolutionary War
Sequencing, Visualizing

Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution by: Jeanne Fritz and and Tomie dePaola

Constitution/Branches of Government
Sequencing historical events/ visualizing /opposing viewpoints/ Content Vocabulary

Water Cycle/Weather

I Survived Hurricane Katrina by Lauren Tarshis
Novel Study – Multiple Literacy standards / flashback / figurative language / historical events
Hurricanes! by Gail Gibbons
Text Features /Content Vocabulary/ Main Idea and Details

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